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Francisco Pizarro

(Trujillo, Spain, 1478 – Lima, 1541) Conqueror of Peru. The decades after the discovery of America had as main protagonists the so-called conquerors, Spanish soldiers who on some occasions, with scarce resources and adequate doses of daring and sagacity, managed to take over huge territories. Such was the case of Hernán Cortés, the conqueror of Mexico, and Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Peru, who in just three years (1531-1533) took control of the rich and powerful Inca Empire. But, who was Francisco Pizarro?

Who was Francisco Pizarro?

Natural son of Captain Gonzalo Pizarro, from a young age he participated in local wars between manors and accompanied his father in the wars in Italy. In 1502 he embarked on the fleet that was taking Nicolás de Ovando, the new governor of Hispaniola, to the Indies.

A restless man with a strong character, Francisco Pizarro could not adapt to the sedentary life of the colonizer, which is why he decided to participate in the expedition of Alonso de Ojeda that explored Central America (1510) and then in that of Vasco Núñez de Balboa that he discovered the Pacific Ocean (1513). Between 1519 and 1523, however, he settled in the city of Panama, of which he was alderman, encomendero, and mayor, which allowed him to enrich himself.

Biography of Francisco Pizarro

Pizarro was the illegitimate son of Captain Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisca González, a young woman of very humble origin, for this reason it is believed that he was an illegitimate son. He was born in 1476, in Trujillo, Spain. His father was Captain Gonzalo Pizarro, who was a poor farmer, and his mother, Francisca, a homemaker. He spent much of his life living in his grandparents’ house, and as a child he never learned to read. According to the stories, for a time he worked with pigs, a highly unlikely possibility since this was a common occupation for children in that region. Without a doubt, he managed to take part in the local manorial wars and, when this was finished, he most likely went to fight in Italy.

Pizarro was not called much by the sedentary life that the colonizer generally led, and for this reason in 1510 he enrolled in an expedition of the explorer Alonso de Ojeda to Urabá in Colombia. People thought he was a tough, quiet, and seemingly unambitious man who could be trusted in difficult situations. Three years later, as captain, he participated in an expedition led by the explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa that was credited with the European discovery of the Pacific Ocean. Between the years 1519 to 1523 he served as mayor and magistrate of the newly founded city of Panama, accumulating a small fortune. In 1513, Pizarro joined the conqueror Vasco Núñez de Balboa in his march towards the “South Sea”, crossing the Isthmus of Panama. During their voyage, Balboa and Pizarro discovered what is now known as the Pacific Ocean, although he was apparently the one who sighted the sea first, and was therefore credited with the first European discovery of the ocean.

In 1524, Pizarro began working with the navigator named Diego de Almagro and with a priest named Fernando de Luque. The first of his reconnaissance trips reached the San Juan River. On the second trip he gave Pizarro the opportunity to explore further south along the coast. In 1528, Pizarro returned to Spain and managed to obtain a commission from Emperor Carlos V. Pizarro was to conquer the southern territory and establish a new Spanish province there. In 1532, accompanied by his brothers, Pizarro overthrew the Inca leader Atahualpa and conquered Peru. Three years later, he founded the new capital, Lima.

Francisco Pizarro Route

Francisco Pizarro route to Italy at the age of 17, fights in the Tercios with the Great Captain and learns military science and in 1502, after his return to Spain, he embarks with Fray Nicolás de Ovando, who left as governor to the island of La Spanish.

In 1509 he joined the group of Alonso de Ojeda that was preparing to populate in Tierra Firme and participated in the founding of the town of San Sebastián and Santa María de la Antigua (Colombia).

In 1513, together with Vasco Núñez de Balboa, he began a long journey through the isthmus of Panama, which ended with the discovery of the Pacific Ocean.

During the following years he participated in different Francisco Pizarro routes that traveled part of the coasts and islands of the South Sea (name that the Pacific Ocean received) looking for gold and pearls.

In 1519 Francisco Pizarro was part of the group that founded the city of Panama, receiving on the banks of the Chagres river the lands that corresponded to him as a resident, where he became alderman and mayor.

In 1524 he joined Diego de Almagro and Hernando de Luque to explore the lands to the south, attracted by the news of great wealth provided by Pascual de Andagoya’s expedition, which had reached a river where he received news of a kingdom called Birú.

On the first Francisco Pizarro route he reached the same river, which he went up, and founded Puerto del Hambre. The lack of food and the attacks of the Indians forced him to withdraw, so he settled in Chochama, in the Gulf of San Miguel (Panama), where he received Diego de Almagro shortly after, who had come looking for him. They decided that Almagro would return to Panama to get more men and meet again in order to continue the journey.

After their return, Almagro and Pizarro sailed in the same boat to the San Juan River (Colombia), where they received the news of the existence of several towns in which their inhabitants wore valuable gold ornaments. At the same time, Bartolomé Ruiz and the men who were traveling in the other expedition ship had located in Tumbes a boat loaded with gold, silver and textiles, which they described on their return to San Juan. There Pizarro was waiting for them, who, upon hearing these details, set out to navigate to San Mateo (Ecuador), the place where the contacts had been made, and continued to Tacames (Atacámez, Ecuador). Back in San Mateo, Almagro returned to Panama in search of reinforcements and food.

Francisco Pizarro and his men moved with the other ship to an island they named del Gallo, where they remained isolated, since this ship also returned to Panama, where a new governor, Pedro de los Ríos, decided to end the expedition. .

Pizarro wanted to move on and offered his companions the possibility of continuing or returning. The group formed by those who decided to continue would later receive the name of the ‘thirteen of fame’. The expedition continued to the Santa River (Peru) and throughout the trip received important news from the Inca Empire, whose chief Huayna Cápac had died, and who at that time was experiencing a struggle between his sons Huáscar and Atahualpa for the succession.

In 1528 he returned to Spain with numerous presents and the intention of presenting to the Emperor Carlos V (King of Spain as Carlos I) the requests agreed with his companions, which were specified in the governance of the lands discovered for himself, the title of advance for Almagro and the bishopric for Luque.

Where did Francisco Pizarro Explore?

Peru is where Did Francisco Pizarro Explore to conquer this country, and with it, the Inca Empire. Also Cajamarca and Cuzco were where Did Francisco Pizarro Explore in the conquest of both, the founding of Lima and in various confrontations that occurred with Spaniards who were divided by ambitions and resentments.

Conquest of Peru

On July 26, 1529, Empress Isabel of Portugal signed the capitulations for the conquest of Peru, whose official name was Nueva Castilla, and empowered Pizarro to continue discovering and populating, within a maximum period of one year, to the limit from Chincha (Peru).

He was also granted the appointments of governor, captain general and bailiff, and his own coat of arms, in which elements allusive to Peru already appeared, such as the symbolic representation of the city of Tumbes and various Peruvian rafts.

In 1530 he left again for America and upon reaching Panama, together with his partners Almagro and Luque, organized the committed expedition. Francisco Pizarro left in January 1531 and settled in Coaque (Ecuador), where he received reinforcements from Sebastián de Belalcázar, who thus joined the group. They then reached the island of Puná (Ecuador), where Hernando de Soto was added.

After passing through Tumbes and founding the town of San Miguel (Peru) in August 1532, on November 15 the expedition entered Cajamarca (Peru), where Atahualpa was, who had captured his brother Huáscar. After several attempts by the Spaniards to attract him, the Inca began a visit accompanied by a multitude of Indians and, after a few brief contacts in which he refused to comply with the usual requirement, both armies went into combat, culminating in the battle with the prison of Atahualpa.

The latter, to obtain his freedom, offered to fill the room in which he was with gold and two other rooms with silver, and secretly ordered the killing of his brother Huáscar.

While this treasure was being gathered, three Spanish soldiers arrived as far as Cuzco and returned with more news about their riches. Almagro and his men joined in Cajamarca and on June 18, 1533, the two partners reunited, they shared the booty.

From Cajamarca Hernando Pizarro left for Panama with the part corresponding to the fifth real (100,000 gold pesos and 5,000 silver marks), which he personally took to Spain, meanwhile, a large army approached Cajamarca to free Atahualpa, and Pizarro decided to judge him for the death of his brothers Huáscar and Atoc and for the crime of treason. After being sentenced to death, he was executed towards the end of July 1533, at the same time that his brother Túpac Huallpa, who had been loyal to Carlos V, was appointed the new Inca.

In August 1533 the Spanish left for Cuzco where they entered on November 15, but before arriving the new Inca was poisoned by the Quito chief Calcuchimac, for which Manco Inca Yupanqui (Manco Capac II) took his place.

In March 1534 the Spanish founding of the city took place. Meanwhile, Francisco Pizarro had received the title of Marquis and the limits of Nueva Castilla had been expanded to include Cuzco, granting his partner Almagro a government that received the name of Nueva Toledo and that extended 200 leagues to the south, in the current Chile.

The confrontation between the two conquerors was accentuated, since Almagro was reluctant to abandon the position of governor of Cuzco and took Pizarro’s brothers, Juan and Gonzalo, prisoner, freeing them only after meeting with his former partner.

On July 8, 1538, Diego de Almagro was executed after being captured by Hernando Pizarro in the battle of Las Salinas, during the so-called ‘civil wars’ that began upon his return from Chile and when he again claimed the city of Cuzco as part of its government. Pizarro left his officers alive, the same ones who would eventually conspire with Almagro’s son to assassinate him.

Francisco Pizarro Facts

Among the main Francisco Pizarro Facts we can say that Francisco Pizarro increased the control that Spain had over South America. His desire for wealth and power led him to become one of the greatest conquerors of the New World. His capture and execution of the Inca ruler caused the Inca Empire to end, today, this event is seen as an unfortunate event that ended an important culture. Another of the Francisco Pizarro Facts, is that he helped explore and colonize various parts of South America. His achievements are still visible today. The city of Lima that Pizarro named and established today is the capital of Peru.


Pizarro was stabbed to death by other of his Spanish companions in his palace located in Lima, Peru. His group of Spaniards had already done some betrayals. Almagro’s son was the one who led the interruption of the palace and they wounded Pizarro with many stabs, cutting his neck.

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